Ovarian Cancer in New Zealand
Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cause of female cancer death in New Zealand.
Prior to 2000 ovarian cancer was often thought of as a 'silent cancer' which is a harmful myth. In actual fact, the opposite is true.
Research has shown the majority of women experience symptoms before they are diagnosed, sometimes when ovarian cancer is at an early stage. However, the significance of these symptoms can be easily missed by women and health professionals alike reducing survival.
Many New Zealand practioners are doing an excellent job diagnosing ovarian cancer. A survey of women in the New Zealand Ovarian Cancer Support Group by Cure Our Ovarian Cancer in 2019 found that 40% of women were tested on their first or second visit to a medical professional and one quarter were diagnosed within a month of presentation. However, this is less than half the rate of Australia.
Improving Diagnosis Rates
Due to the non specific nature of symptoms, people with ovarian cancer may present to a variety of health professionals in the search for a diagnosis. As a health professional, you have a crucial role in the education and detection of ovarian cancer.
Resources for Health Professionals
Our Ovarian Cancer Symptoms Poster was developed with feedback from the New Zealand Gynaecological Cancer Group. It features Alisi, a young pacific woman diagnosed in her twenties with high-grade serous and low-grade serous ovarian cancer.
Maori and Pacific women experience higher incidence and mortality from ovarian cancer compared to non-Maori and non-Pacific women. In addition younger people are more likely to experience delays to their diagnosis. Though ovarian cancer typically presents in older age - diagnoses in the under 45s age group account for one in eight cases overall, and as many as one in three Maori and Pacific women.
In 2021 we sent this poster to every GP practice in New Zealand. We encourage you to download and print a copy to display in waiting rooms and toilets. We can also provide printed business cards with symptoms. Contact us to request printed copies.
Cure Our Ovarian Cancer is the New Zealand Ovarian Cancer charity. We are committed to improving outcomes for women affected by ovarian cancer.
Locally we fund awareness, advocacy and research - to improve diagnosis, treatment and research of ovarian cancer.
Globally we work with charitable partners in the UK, Australia, Canada and the US to fundraise for research to improve the survival of a rarer ovarian cancer that disproportionately affects younger women.
We are a small, volunteer organisation with a big vision to make a significant difference to the survival of women with ovarian cancer.
If you would like to support our efforts to improve outcomes in Aotearoa, please make a donation. We don't receive any government funding. Public donations fund our crucial work and determine the impact we can make.
If you are a medical or nursing professional and would like to volunteer your time to improve our resources (or pass on any feedback) we would love to hear from you.